Ana Blandiana has won the title of the European Poet of Freedom 2016

ana_blandiana_nagrodaAna Blandiana has won the title of the European Poet of Freedom 2016 for the collection “Mea Patria A4”. She was awarded with a statuette and 100.000 PLN. Joanna Kornaś-Warwas has been awarded with a statuette and 10.000 PLN for the translation of Blandiana’s book into Polish.

Ana Blandiana, though a legendary fighter for political and social freedom in Romania, won the competition for other reasons; as the Jury explained in their statement, her incessant poetic development, exploration of and strive for freedom in the contemporary context had impressed the jurors most.

This Year’s Award was the result of the proceedings of the Jury: Krzysztof Pomian (Chairman of the Jury), Krzysztof Czyżewski, Paweł Huelle, Andrzej Jagodziński (Secretary of the Jury), Zbigniew Mikołejko, Stanisław Rosiek, Anda Rottenberg and Olga Tokarczuk.

The poetry was born in the times when, as the Poet herself asserts, “to be free is manifestly more difficult that to be enslaved”; in the times when “paradoxically, the freedom of speech reduced the meaning of words”.

As Jury explained further: “It is an invaluable voice in the times of contemporary crisis, a voice coming from central Eastern Europe, originating on one hand from the historical experience of the fight for freedom and deeply connected with the challenges faced by contemporary Europe. The poetry of Blandiana’s collection is the poetry of an invisible world written into the visible world perceived through the metaphysics of the everyday experience, as it transpires in the poem “Requiem”.

Ana Blandiana is the author of 25 collections of poems. Her book “My Native Land A4” was published in Romania in 2010, and is first published in English by Bloodaxe Books in 2014 (translated by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea). The topics of her works range from existential, spiritual and carnal issues to socio-political comments on the women’s matters. Apart from poetry, which has achieved wide recognition, the poet has also published several fiction novels and volumes of social and political critique. Her works have been translated into at least 24 languages, which establishes Blandiana’s position as the most recognisable ambassador of Romanian literature in the world. 

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This Year’s Gdańsk Literary Award nominees were:

Vanni Bianconi (Italy), translated by Joanna Wajs, for “Pronuncerai il mio nome”,

Ana Blandiana (Romania), translated by Joanna Kornaś-Warwas for “Mea Patria A4”,

Lidija Dimkovska (Macedonia), translated by Danuta Cirlić-Straszyńska

Yahya Hassan (Denmark), translated by Bogusława Sochańska for “Yahya Hassan. Digte”,

Daniel Jonas (Portugal), translated by Michał Lipszyc for “Passageiro frequente”,

Anikó Polgár (Hungary), translated by Anna Górecka for “Régészno körömcipoben,

Sergei Stratanovski (Russia), translated by Adam Pomorski for “Graffiti”.